Updated: Aug. 19, 2022

Please note: "Monkeypox" is no longer the preferred term, "MPV" should be used instead.

What is MPV? 

MPV is a rare viral infection that has not often been seen in the United States. The U.S. is currently experiencing an outbreak.

MPV can cause a rash that looks like bumps, blisters, or ulcers. Some people have flu-like illness before the rash develops. Most people recover in two to four weeks, but the disease can be serious, especially for children and people who are immune compromised or pregnant.

How can MPV spread? 

MPV spreads through contact with:

  • MPV rash, sores or scabs.
  • Objects, fabrics ,or surfaces a person with MPV used.
  • Respiratory droplets or oral fluids from a person with MPV.

MPV can spread as soon as symptoms start until all sores heal and a fresh layer of skin forms. This can be several weeks.

The most common mode of transmission is close, physical, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has MPV.

What are the signs and symptoms of MPV? 

  • Symptoms of MPV can include:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
  • A rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
    • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
    • The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

You may experience all or only a few symptoms.

  • Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
  • Most people with MPV will get a rash.
  • Some people have developed a rash before (or without) other symptoms.

Can I get vaccinated for MPV? 

The CDC currently recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to MPV and people who may be more likely to get MPV. 

People more likely to get MPV include:

  • People who have been identified by public health officials as a contact of someone with MPV.
  • People who are aware that one of their sexual partners in the past two weeks has been diagnosed with MPV.
  • People who had multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks in an area with known MPV.
  • People whose jobs may expose them to orthopoxviruses, such as:
    • Laboratory workers who perform testing for orthopoxviruses
    • Laboratory workers who handle cultures or animals with orthopoxviruses
    • Some designated health care or public health workers

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) has a limited amount of MPV vaccine. TPCHD expects to get more vaccines and hopes to expand eligibility soon. They are coordinating distribution of vaccines with pharmacies and providers. Check the TPCHD website for the latest updates.

MPV Campus Information 

How can I get tested for MPV on campus? 

If you are a student experiencing symptoms of MPV, (symptoms include muscle aches or backache, swollen lymph nodes, and any rash located on or near the genitals or anus or on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth) CHWS health care providers can test for MPV. At this time, there is no FDA-approved screening test for MPV. This means that you can only be tested if you have a rash or lesions. After testing, results can take a few days. While you wait for results, you should continue to isolate yourself from others. You don’t need to visit the emergency room unless you’re seriously ill. CHWS providers can provide guidance on symptom management and isolation protocols. To make an appointment at CHWS, call 253.879.1555. 

I’m worried about coming to campus. What is my risk of getting MPV as a college student?

It is important to note that although the emergence of another viral disease is worrisome, MPV transmission is preventable, and there are already FDA-approved testing protocols and a vaccine in place. 

Available data shows that the majority of infections are due to prolonged, physical, skin-to-skin and/or intimate contact with someone who has MPV. The presence of the MPV virus on a surface does not automatically cause someone to become infected with MPV. A relatively high dose of the virus is necessary to cause an infection. For example, briefly touching a door handle would probably not cause an infection because the exposure to the virus is brief and the amount of virus present on a doorknob is small; however, spending several hours in a bedroom, bed, and having close physical contact with someone who has MPV would more likely result in an infection. 
 
Being in close contact with others and living in congregate settings may increase risk, but there are steps you can take to mitigate this risk. Make informed choices when you are in situations or places where MPV could be spread.  

In reference to CDC prevention guidance, the following precautions are highlighted for college students: 

  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of MPV infection. Schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider for testing if you are experiencing symptoms. 
  • Abstain from kissing, skin-to-skin contact including intimate/sexual activity, and isolate away from others if you are feeling unwell and/or having symptoms of MPV.
  • Practice safe and consensual sex and sexual/intimate activities. Communicate with your partner, and do not engage in physical contact if you or your partner have any new or unexplained rashes, or if either of you have been exposed to MPV. Utilize CDC guidance for safer sex and gatherings.
  • Wear shower shoes in shared bathroom spaces.
  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid sharing towels, bedding, and clothing with others.
  • Avoid sharing drinks, utensils, straws, pipes, bongs, vapes, etc.
  • Practice good cough etiquette. Wear a mask around others.

How will close contacts be identified and contacted? 

In the event of a positive case of MPV on campus, CHWS and the TPCHD will collaborate to perform contact tracing. Close contacts will then be notified by phone and provided with guidance regarding next steps. 

Where can I find more information about MPV? 

The CDC website has the most up-to-date information about MPV. You can also refer to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website, and the Washington Department of Health website for local information. 

Is there an isolation space on campus for students with MPV?

Isolation space on campus will be provided for students who test positive for MPV as needed. Food will be delivered by DES. Security Services will be prepared for responding to emergencies while a student is in isolation as needed. CHWS Medical staff will work with the TPCHD and the student to determine when to safely end isolation.

What cleaning protocols will be used if there is a positive case of MPV on campus? 

The Facilities team has reviewed CDC cleaning protocols and is prepared to clean and disinfect campus rooms and spaces under direction from the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department if there is a positive MPV case on campus.

What about the roommate of a student with MPV? 

If a student with a roommate tests positive for MPV, the non-infected roommate will be provided with a temporary dorm room while their dorm room is cleaned and disinfected.